Monday, July 6, 2009

Five Town 50

Sunday was a pristine day for riding. Wish the same could be said for trail conditions. FOMBA is still closed for mud season #2. I hit Great Brook and tasty bits on the periphery a week ago. Just to the north lies Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest. I drummed up a couple victims to join me singlespeedin' here, practically in my own back yard. It's always good for the ego to bring riders not familiar with your local trails.

We started from my house, riding to the ride. It's about 3 miles into Mass. I live a stone's throw from the state line in NH. We head into the woods, end up at the huge gravity track by mistake. Seems the kids are still at it, although we didn't see any demonstrations. I've seen kids in blue jeans, no helmets, hurl themselves more than 20ft vertically over doubles that would do any world cup DH course proud.

We turn around to take the correct way up Whortleberry Hill. The turn was within sight of where we stopped, yet somehow Steve and Dave right behind me didn't see me go that way. Since Steve knows the area, he assumed I was going to head up a different way that actually climbs an adjacent hill. Do you think after not seeing me for 20 minutes they'd come back down to the last junction? Nooooo. I'm still scratching deerfly welts. I eventually gave up waiting, resumed our planned route, only to meet up with Steve coming down the hill we planned to climb in the first place.

Once we got that out of our system, the next 80 minutes or so were singlespeeding singletrack nirvana. Or at least I thought so. Steve had a biggish gear and I think the last time he was on a MTB was bombing down Haleakala on Maui in April. Normally on his Yeti he kicks my butt on the tech stuff. But the singlespeed seemed to be a great equalizer. Dave had a smaller gear than I and had much less trouble. But then again, he is a real singlespeeder, having done races like the VT50 and NH100k with one gear. I, on the other hand, had the backyard turf advantage. I was running a 32x18 ratio. Since NEMBA reclaimed this place from the ATVs, trash dumpers and partiers, I've been coming here a lot. I managed to clean several things that often trip me up on the singlespeed.

Steve had time commitments and had to cut out after hitting most of the good stuff in LDT. While working our way back toward the periphery of the forest, a teen girl was so absorbed into texting that she nearly walked right into us. Imagine that, texting while hiking in the woods! She not only not saw us while walking right toward us, she didn't hear us. She spaz'd so badly that she nearly dropped her wireless crack device. I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself. Dave and I continued north back into Hudson, NH to hit a small loop around one of my employer's facilities. I do not recommend riding here unless you have a BAE Systems badge. Security has stopped me after popping out of the woods multiple times. Strangely, there are all kinds of scary signs about private, you will be arrested, no ATVs, etc, yet the dirt bikes and ATVs keep the trails up nicely. It is wicked fast with berms in all the right places. It follows the Merrimack River for about a mile too, right across the river from the Pheasant Lane mall. You can smell the Chinese from the food court every time.

Another bit of road took us into the "Hudson Powerlines" riding area behind my house, which crosses into the fifth town of the ride, Pelham. Dave was whining about all the road, being on an undergeared singlespeed and all. To me, it's all riding, and it's all good. Besides, we all can benefit from some insane spinning once in a while, especially if you focus on keeping your pelvis rock steady. I regularly link up many bits of woods to make a ride complete. Local riding areas just aren't big enough to get 3+ hours of riding in without repeating something. So you go parcel hopping.

We cut out the Merryll Hill climbs and went right to Seavey Hill, the one I live on. This has a steep 200ft, ATV churned climb up the back side. It was the most punishing thing we did in three hours. It is really hard to find a singlespeed traction line up this loose rock mine field, but I managed to clean it.

Dave and I finished with 31.2mi (50.2km) in just over three hours riding time. A great workout. Legs came around nicely after a lethargic start from Friday's mountains loop. I thought 10.5hrs riding for the weekend was pretty good until I read Solobreak's report. 464km, 16hrs?


Raineman said...

Man, you gotta quit that job. BAE is in the people killing business.

Hill Junkie said...

The division I work for has the moto "We protect those who protect us." We do potection systems, radios, etc. Here's a link to another product that may protect a jet you fly on soon.